Have you ever wondered about slices of life from the past? Or pondered how fellow humans felt at mundane and ordinary moments in other times of world history? That real humans struggled and dreamed and worried and labored and loved, day in and day out.
- The wife of a Chinese merchant who was a contemporary of Abraham, right now guessing when her husband will return from his journey.
- The hunter who barely escaped an attack by a wild boar on his way home to his children and sick mother, right now moving through the brush with a little more awareness of sounds.
- The indentured servant getting up early for another monotonous day of cleaning, right now pondering if she should take time to mend her stockings.
People who have lived with little more than an awareness of today, getting through today. How easy it is to forget that, no matter how real and substantial and unforgettable and important and dynamic the NOW that we live in seems to us, it is actually fleeting -- a vapor.
The only thing that is always reliable, that will not disperse like a vapor, are the promises of God and a future hope.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. (Luke 2:25-26)
Right now Simeon is a man in Jerusalem, but his hope rests in the Lord’s promise to him. God assured him he would, so he waited in his place now, and anticipated the Lord’s work in the world.
And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:27-32)
But NOW he has seen Jesus, the fulfilment of the promises. He didn’t know when it was going to come, but he didn’t merely exist, letting the days go by unmarked, unmindful of greater things being done in the heavens, oblivious to the work the Lord was doing to prepare the world for His coming. He noted the times, and believed God, and anticipated each day could be the NOW of the coming of the Messiah, salvation, redemption, eternal glory.
To Simeon, NOW meant more than now. It meant the moment of the Incarnation, the coming of the Promise, the new Mediator, the perfect Lamb, the greatest High Priest of all.
** Five Minute Friday (FMF) is a weekly event hosted at the website of Kate Motaung wherein participants are given a single word prompt every Thursday evening, which remains active for one week. How to play: write for 5 minutes on the thoughts, memories, impressions, reflections, aspirations, hopes, beliefs, convictions, or whatever, that that prompt word brings to mind. Set a timer, write without worry about spelling or grammar or typos, and stop when the timer goes off (no cheating). The rules are here. It's free, it's non-committal, and it's easy to participate, so come to the #FMFparty with me! This week, the word was NOW.
Laura England Miller